What is Love?

Valentine’s Day is when we think about love.  What is love?  What cultivates an overwhelming experience of love in our lives?  As the poets know, love sees what can only be seen with the eyes of the heart, and it may be for this reason that no matter whether you are married, dating or single, we all look for love.  Love reminds us of what is most true.  It sees possibilities and potential where others see failure and defeat.  It sees the real you, beneath appearances, and this is true not only for your partner but especially for you.

If I’ve learned anything from those with remarkable recoveries and from patients, it’s among the following.  Try out these five ways to both nourish your heart and your love life at the same time:

1.  Do what causes you to come alive:  it’s easy to forget what we love in the press of daily life.  When you are doing what you love, you attract love, whether from the one you love or from someone new.

2.  Accept that love is like a bank account:  if you take care of others to the exclusion of your own deepest longings and desires for too long, you will eventually end up spiritually or emotionally bankrupt, feeling like you need something from others that is not theirs to give.  If you make regular deposits into the manifestation of your deep desires and longings, you will develop a surplus of love and joy in your life that will flow out from you towards others.  The one you love will be attracted to your infectious joy and you will be free to simply and thoroughly enjoy him or her.

3.  Reserve at least one night every week as date night:  No matter whether you’ve known each other for 4 months or 40 years, it’s life-saving and relationship-saving to keep doing the things that caused you to fall in love with each other as the roles expand from lovers to include parenting, bread-winning, home-management, etc.

4.  Make a project of eliminating self-defeating thoughts from your life:  You cannot give to another what you have not first given to yourself.  It may seem easier to love other unconditionally than yourself, but the truth is that you need to start with compassion and respect for yourself and then you will be able to extend that to others.

5.  Find time to feed and nurture your higher and best self:  when you fill what is missing in your life with the highest and best part of you, you are much less likely to need an addiction to food, alcohol, cigarettes, or work that gets in the way of genuine contact with yourself and your partner.

“If it is bread that you seek, you will have bread.

If it is the soul you seek, you will find the soul.

If you understand this secret,

you know you are that which you seek.”

~ Rumi

What does self-love look like to you?

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